The Dark Mark

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Katrina's POV

"Don't tell your mother you've been gambling," Mr Weasley implored Fred and George, as we all made our way slowly down the purple-carpeted stairs.

"Don't worry, Dad," said Fred gleefully, "we've got big plans for this money, we don't want it confiscated."

Mr Weasley looked for a moment as though he was going to ask what these big plans were, but seemed to decide, upon reflection, that he didn't want to know.

We were soon caught up in the crowds now flooding out of the stadium and back to their campsites. Raucous singing was borne towards us on the night air as we retraced our steps along the lantern-lit path, and leprechauns kept shooting over our heads, cackling and waving their lanterns. When we finally reached the tents, nobody felt like sleeping at all and, given the level of noise around us, Mr Weasley agreed that we could all have one last cup of cocoa together before turning in. We were soon arguing enjoyably about the match; Mr Weasley got drawn into a disagreement about cobbing with Charlie, and it was only when Ginny fell asleep right at the tiny table and spilled hot chocolate all over the floor that Mr Weasley called a halt to the verbal replays, and insisted that everyone went to bed. Hermione and I carried Ginny into the next tent, before changing into our pajamas and clambering into bed. From the other side of the campsite we could still hear much singing, and the odd echoing bang. At first the loud sounds kept me awake, but eventually I was able to zone them out and fell fast asleep.

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I woke up halfway through the night to find a hand clamping down over my mouth as the other dragged me out of bed. I thrashed around and kicked with all my strength, but I couldn't escape the tight grip. I tried to look up and to the side to see who had a hold of me but the hand over my mouth made that impossible. I continued to struggle as I was pulled out of the tent and across the ground until something heavy struck my head and I passed out as a flash of pain echoed through my head.

Harry's POV

"Where's Kat?" Has anyone seen Kat!" I started to panic as I realized that Kat was nowhere in sight. Ron and I had been awakened in the middle of the night by Mr Weasley. Apparently a group of death eaters had decided to relive old times by torturing the Roberts family. I'd grabbed Ron and Hermione and we'd dashed off into the woods without a second thought. How had I not realized Kat had not been with us! I slapped my forehead as I turned around and started to run back the way we came.

But I stopped abruptly and looked over my shoulder. Hermione and Ron looked quickly around, too. It sounded as though someone was staggering towards our clearing. We waited, listening to the sounds of the uneven steps behind the dark trees. But the footsteps came to a sudden halt.

"Hello?" I called.

There was silence. I walked over and peered around a tree. It was too dark to see very far, but I could sense somebody standing just beyond the range of my vision.

"Who's there?" I said.

And then, without warning, the silence was rent by a voice unlike any we had heard in the wood; and it uttered, not a panicked shout, but what sounded like a spell.

"MORSMORDRE!"

And something vast, green and glittering erupted from the patch of darkness my eyes had been struggling to penetrate: it flew up over the treetops and into the sky.

"What the –?" gasped Ron, as he sprang to his feet again, staring up at the thing that had appeared.

For a split second, I thought it was another leprechaun formation. Then I realized that it was a colossal skull, composed of what looked like emerald stars, with a serpent protruding from its mouth like a tongue. As we watched, it rose higher and higher, blazing in a haze of greenish smoke, etched against the black sky like a new constellation.

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